Week 16 NFL rewind:

Soccer-Park's return to Korean national side unlikely

Reuters

SEOUL, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A shock return to the South Korean national team looks unlikely for Park Ji-sung as the former Manchester United player has arranged a charity game in Southeast Asia shortly before the World Cup finals, his father told local media on Wednesday.

Speculation that Park could play a part in Korea's campaign in Brazil grew after head coach Hong Myung-bo said earlier this month he wanted to talk to him about a possible return.

However, the player's father, Park Sung-jong, confirmed to Korean media that he would be going ahead with the hosting of his annual charity match, dubbed the "Asian Dream Cup", which is to be held on May 31 or June 1 in Malaysia or Indonesia.

"This is something he had planned to do all along," he told Korea's Yonhap News. "He is executing plans that he had made when he retired from international play three years ago."

Park shot to fame at the 2002 World Cup on home soil when the Guus Hiddink-led Koreans became the first Asian side to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

After stints with PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Queen's Park Rangers, Park returned to the Dutch side on loan this season but has made few appearances due to injury.

While the 32-year-old would be unable to produce the kind of lung-bursting performances for club and country that saw him dubbed "Three-lunged Park," his experience and influence in the dressing room would have appealed to Korean coach Hong.

Park, who retired from international football in early 2011 with 100 caps, said late last year that his club career may only last a couple more years.

South Korea will be making their eighth consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals and have been placed in Group H alongside Belgium, Russia and Algeria at the June 12-July 13 tournament in Brazil. (Reporting By Kim Sohee; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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